Russia’s President Dmitri Medvedev submitted to the State Duma for ratification an agreement between Moscow and Tskhinvali “on cooperation and mutual assistance in the customs issues,” the Kremlin said on September 20.
The move coincided with 21st anniversary of “independence of the South Ossetian Republic”, marked in Tskhinvali on September 20 with a military parade.
In July, when President Medvedev submitted a similar treaty with breakaway Abkhazia to the State Duma for ratification, Tbilisi said the move demonstrated Moscow’s unwillingness “to constrictively negotiate” with Georgia. Sergi Kapanadze, deputy foreign minister and one of Georgian negotiators over Russia’s WTO entry terms said in August, that such step “distances Russia from the World Trade Organization.”
Also on September 20, the Russian President congratulated breakaway South Ossetia on “independence day” saying in a message sent to the outgoing South Ossetian leader, Eduard Kokoity, that Tskhinvali can count on Russia’s assistance. Medvedev also expressed confidence that upcoming presidential election in November “will become a confirmation of democratic gains” in the region.
Meanwhile in Tskhinvali, Grad multiple rocket launchers, BTR-80 armored personnel carriers and T-72 tanks paraded on September 20 to mark the region’s “independence day.” Russian troops and border guards stationed in the breakaway region also took part in the parade, with was opened with breakaway South Ossetian and Russian anthems.
Head of Russian President’s administration Sergey Naryshkin was among the guests at the parade, according to a website of the breakaway region’s authorities.